#NCN for Nov. 5 – Mental Health and Self-Diagnosis

So like – what’s up with people who hate on others who self-diagnose their own mental health disorders? My first question would be the old classic, why the fuck do you even care? Do you think you’re better than someone because you have access to medical care that they don’t? Mental health diagnoses require sessions with a therapist, a formal psychological evaluation, maybe some other things, and then eventually the treatment to go along with whatever diagnosis you end up with – medication, more psychotherapy, a hospital stay or two if you’re feeling fancy.

The thing is… all those components of receiving and dealing with a mental illness diagnosis cost money. And even if the money for the explicit costs is available or someone is able to take advantage of free facilities – which is already a battle in itself because free clinics are ridiculously overwhelmed, understaffed, and working with impossible budget restraints -, there are still implicit costs involved. An implicit cost is something you don’t pay for with money, but by giving up the chance to do something else that has quantifiable value – opportunity cost, for those of you playing at home. That could mean the time consumed in working to get mental health treatment might cost you time you could have otherwise spent at your job or jobs, or extra transportation costs, extra childcare costs, or even just the general transaction costs of researching treatment facilities, making appointments, getting there on time, cancellation fees if your work coverage or childcare arrangements fall through, and the list goes on.

Simply put, even when treatment is free, it’s not really free.

Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with doing some online research into what kind of disorder you could have before starting the long and tedious process of treatment. Accepting that something might be wrong with the one organ you should be able to trust – your own brain – is a deeply personal process, and might be one that can be too overwhelming to start in a strange place with strange people, even if that’s a doctor’s office with trained professionals. Just because they’ve hopped all the necessary educational hurdles doesn’t mean their bedside manners are sufficient for people struggling with a newly diagnosed mental illness, nor does it mean they don’t harbor some resentment or ill feelings towards people with mental health problems. Let me tell you from personal experience that some of the most stubborn mental health stigmas begin and end with healthcare professionals, okay?

Looking through some online sources to educate yourself on your potential disorder is smart and understandable and it’s an important step in dealing with that disorder. The involvement of a doctor is not always possible, so leave people alone and let them deal with their mental health however they can. Self-diagnosis is a legitimate way to try to help yourself, giving the fucked up state of healthcare costs, so live and let live, kittens.


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